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October 26, 2011

"My neighbors and I feel coal pollution up close"

Smog

Those are the words of William Anderson, the chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes in southeastern Nevada, in his recent editorial on the need for air pollution protections for coal plants.

Anderson's column is one of many news hits we want to highlight this week on coal and clean energy. His piece appeared in the St. Lake Tribune and eloquently discusses how coal's pollution isn't out of sight and out of mind for him and his community - and shouldn't be for the rest of the nation, either. From the column:

Because coal-burning power plants operate largely out of the sight of most Americans, worries about coal pollution might seem remote. But the soot, nitrogen, sulfur and carbon pollution coming from these plants lands not just on our heads (and inside our lungs); it gets carried across the West by the wind. The Reid Gardner plant’s emissions, for instance, cloud the Grand Canyon in Arizona and worsen particulate and ozone pollution across southern Nevada and Utah.

We also saw an excellent editorial from the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the need for mercury protections related to coal plants - and how Congress must stop attacking the Environmental Protection Agency's attempts to protect public health from coal pollution such as mercury:

Unfortunately, House Republicans have voted nearly 170 times this year alone to erode clean air and water laws and thwart other environmental protections. In addition, most GOP presidential candidates are calling for a moratorium on EPA regulations, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Georgia's Newt Gingrich want to abolish the agency altogether.

Not only are these views irresponsible, they reflect gross ignorance of the impact that EPA rules make toward safeguarding Americans' quality of life and health. While the Tea Party and GOP leaders may distrust the EPA, the majority of Americans want stringent regulations to protect air and water qualities, according to studies.

Meanwhile, some great activism news is highlighted in this NPR story on the community fighting back against a proposed coal export terminal in Bellingham, Washington.

Another great Beyond Coal activist story? Check out this Grist profile of Texas Beyond Coal organizer Flavia de la Fuente.

Finally, in clean energy news - the U.S. military is looking to clean energy to free it from the security risks of relying on fossil fuels:

"We're doing this to become a better military, to make us better war fighters. We're doing this as a matter of security," (said U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus).

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